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July 16, 2020

Is Depression a Mental Illness?

Overview

People with depression show less interest in every activity they do and it affects their self-esteem, mood, and feelings. Due to this reason, depression is considered a mental illness. They often feel low about themselves and lacks confidence.

One in six people are experiencing depression at some point in their lives. This mental illness can bring problems to your personal life after that it will be difficult for a person to lead a normal life.

What are the indicators of depression?

Depression is a mental illness due to the following symptoms. It includes

  • Feeling sad all the time
  • Showing low levels of energy
  • Exhaustiveness
  • Lacking self-confidence on themselves
  • Getting difficulty in concentrating or unable to concentrate
  • Unable to enjoy the things that a person has previously enjoyed
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Getting difficulty in sleeping or unable to sleep
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Nervousness
  • Unable to forget guilt that committed in the past
  • Unable to achieve targets in work-life
  • Not maintaining a healthy relationship with spouse or children or members of the family
  • Poor appetite
  • Unable to maintain an erection during sexual intercourse or loss of desire
  • Physical pains
  • Recurrent thoughts of committing suicide

The above symptoms may not affect you physically but can give you miserable pain inside of your head and that is why depression is a mental illness.

What are the causes of depression?

As depression is a mental illness, it will be difficult for mental health professionals to identify the exact cause of this condition. Several well-established factors can increase your chances of getting diagnosed with depression. The following are the causes of this mental illness. It includes

  • Family history
  • Early childhood trauma
  • Structure of the brain
  • Underlying health problems
  • Use of illegal drugs
  • Stress

Let’s discuss the above causes in detail:

Family history

If any member of your family has diagnosed with depression or any mood disorder in the past, then you have an increased risk of getting diagnosed with this mental illness.

Early childhood trauma

Some people with depression are unable to forget the bad events that were happened in their childhood. Those memories can contribute to the cause of depression.

Structure of the brain

brain structure

Chances of getting diagnosed with this mental illness are more if there are any abnormal changes in happened in your brain structure. The frontal lobe of your brain should be active all the time otherwise it may lead to the cause of depression.

Underlying health problems

People with an underlying medical condition can suffer from depression. The following are the medical conditions that can increase your risk of developing this condition. These conditions include

  • Chronic illness
  • Insomnia or poor sleep
  • Chronic pain
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Use of illegal drugs

Illegal Drugs

If you have a habit of using illegal drugs such as marijuana, hashish, heroin, opium, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, mescaline, and anabolic steroids. These drugs can contribute to the cause of depression.

When to see a doctor

If you think your depression is a mental illness then Consult your doctor or a therapist immediately. Your doctor should evaluate you for other possible causes of your symptoms before treating this mental health condition. Together, you and your doctor can determine the best way to manage your symptoms.

What are the treatment options available for depression?

There are treatments for this which can include lifestyle alternations, non-prescription options as well as prescription medications. The treatment of depression includes

  • Medications
  • Natural supplements
  • Therapies
  • Lifestyle changes

Let’s discuss the above treatment options in detail:

Medications

Depression is a mental illness and it can be cured by using some medications. Your physician may recommend some drugs to reduce the severity of your condition. Some of the medications prescribed by your physician mentioned below:

Nausea, sudden changes in weight, increased appetite, unable to maintain an erection during sexual intercourse or loss of libido, feeling sleepy all the time, exhaustiveness, getting difficulty in sleeping or sleep problems, dry mouth, unable to see clearly with your eyes, hard bowel movements, dizziness, fainting, and feeling nervous all the time are considered as the common side effects associated with depression medications.

The above side effects can occur at any time during drug use. It is advised to consult a physician when you are experiencing the side effects of the depression medications. Your physician may change the dosage of the medication or may recommend you to take another one.

Natural supplements

Your physician may suggest you take some natural supplements as depression is a mental illness. The natural supplements of depression include

  • St. John’s wort
  • S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)
  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Let’s discuss the above natural supplements in detail:

St. John’s wort

This natural supplement can help you to manage the symptoms of depression but the FDA has not approved this supplement to treat this mental illness. In some countries, people using this supplement to treat their depression condition.

john wort plant

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)

Research shows that it can ease the indicators of this mental health condition. But researchers still need to conduct more studies to prove it.

5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-HTP can improve your depression symptoms by increasing the number of serotonin levels in your body.

Omega-3 fatty acids

People with depression should add omega-3 supplements in your diet as it can act as a natural remedy for this mental illness.

Therapies

therapy

Depression is something that can stop you from expressing yourself to other people. Due to this reason, your physician may recommend you consult a psychiatrist or a therapist to manage the symptoms of your condition. These therapies include

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Light therapy
  • Psychotherapy

Let’s discuss the above therapies in detail:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

The main objective of this therapy is to change the thought patterns of your brain from negative to positive. Your therapist believed that the consequences of negative actions can contribute to the cause of depression. Due to this reason, your therapist will try to know about you as much as possible and replace the negative thoughts with the positive ones.

Light therapy

This therapy is used to ease the symptoms of this mental illness and can also regulate a person’s mood with depression. This therapy is recommended in the people who are suffering from a seasonal affective disorder.

Psychotherapy

Talk therapy is the other name for psychotherapy. This therapy is ideal for people who are suffering mild symptoms of depression. As depression is a mental illness, some people will have only mild symptoms while others may have severe or debilitating symptoms. The main objective of psychotherapy is to find out the correct solution to your problem. You will observe the changes in you after ten to fifteen sessions.

Lifestyle changes

This mental illness can be controlled if you change some modifications to your lifestyle. It can have a positive effect on anyone with depression. The lifestyle changes include

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Say no to alcohol

Let’s discuss the above changes in detail:

Exercise

Getting into the habit of doing physical exercises daily can ease the symptoms you are suffering. After an intense workout, your body produces endorphins which are responsible for improving your mood.

exercise

Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet can keep you away from getting diagnosed with this mental health condition. Because you are what you eat. Include fruits, green leafy vegetables, and other healthy foods in your diet to prevent depression.

Quit smoking

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, you must stop smoking. If you are unable to do it then join in any support group to know that you are not alone.

Say no to alcohol

You should reduce the consumption of alcohol and it can make you feel awkward especially when you are in depression. It is not advised to drink alcohol while you are battling with depression. Alcohol can make your condition even worse.

How do you prevent depression?

It is not an easy task to prevent depression as it is a mental illness. A lot of factors can trigger this condition. That is why it is not possible to prevent this condition. For some people preventing depression is easy to do especially if they know the symptoms or have had it before. To prevent depression and also potentially slow the progression of this mental health condition. It is not advised to improve your

Conclusion

Depression is a mental illness and that is why everybody is different who develops this condition. In some people, it can be mild or in some people, it can be severe and progress more rapidly. Some people have lived with depression for more than twenty years. If you are experiencing depression symptoms then you should talk with your physician about your symptoms. Your doctor can complete a physical exam and review your medical history to determine which treatment option would be best for you.

References

  1. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18070881
  2. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/depression-fda-approved-medications-may-help
  3. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222768
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1414693/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180352/
  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jnr.23976
  7. http://www.industrialpsychiatry.org/article.asp?issn=0972-6748;year=2016;volume=25;issue=2;spage=166;epage=170;aulast=Chaudhary
  8. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2012/482802/
  9. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2687389
  10. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wps.20050
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4517611/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4194005/

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